Quote of the Day
“Thank God that guy from Texas didn’t win.”
—Former House Speaker John Boehner to a conference in Las Vegas, according to the Wall Street Journal. Since Boehner left politics, he appears to have found full-time work taking shots at Ted Cruz. The guy called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh” a few weeks ago, so he’s clearly not pulling punches. Boehner also said on Thursday that Cruz’s role in leading the 2013 government shutdown was the “dumbest thing I ever saw.”
Grand Old Party—The Texas Republican Party Convention kicked off on Thursday, and though the main theme seemed to be a call for unification behind Donald Trump, it was pretty clear that the state’s GOP leadership is still sore that Ted Cruz is no longer a presidential candidate. In his speech, Governor Greg Abbott reminisced over the good ol’ days before Cruz suspended his campaign (“Ted is a true conservative. He deserves our enduring respect.”) and while calling for Republicans to come together to defeat Hillary Clinton, he never actually uttered the name of the party’s probable nominee, Donald Trump, according to the Dallas Morning News. Abbott also took some time to promote his book and talk about bathrooms. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick similarly urged the party to unite (he actually did say the words “Donald Trump”), and continued his leading role in the crusade against transgender friendly restrooms. “We shouldn’t even be having this debate in America,” Patrick said, according to the Texas Tribune. The federal government agrees with him there, which is why the Obama administration is expected to issue an executive order directing every single public school in the country to allow its students to use whatever restroom aligns with their gender identity, according to the Tribune. Of course, this will likely only rankle Patrick and Co. even more. Expect the potty talk to continue.
Paxton Probs—Attorney General had a busy day on Thursday, first arriving in-person to fight charges of securities fraud in a Dallas appellate court before popping in at the GOP convention just “blocks away,” according to the Associated Press. The AP said that in his court appearance, Paxton, likely bolstered by the dismissal of charges against Rick Perry, acted with “more defiance and outspokenness” than any of his prior hearings. His attorneys argued that the grand jury that indicted Paxton was improperly picked, the Texas Tribune reported, and the day before Paxton released a video directly to the public that professed his supposed innocence and claimed that he is being targeted for political reasons and because he’s a Christian. Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News continues its excellent investigative reporting into Paxton’s tendency to keep paying people who no longer work for him. The paper discovered a third official who was kept on the Attorney General office’s payroll long after having bolted the agency. This one earned her $56,000 salary plus benefits for nearly six months. According to the Morning News, she “was supposed to receive only about a third of that.”
License Fight—A Travis County judge will hear a lawsuit filed by immigration advocates to stop the state from licensing immigrant detention centers as “childcare facilities,” the Associated Press reports. The hearing comes about a week after the judge rejected the Department of Family Planning Services’s decision to issue a temporary childcare license to the Karnes County Residential Center outside San Antonio. The immigrant detention centers like Karnes hold many women and children in conditions that are notoriously poor. For example, the Texas Observer reported on Tuesday that a Salvadorian woman said her 12-year-old daughter was sexually harassed and molested by a non-family cellmate inside the Karnes facility. Immigrant rights advocates and experts have long argued that the detention centers are no place for children. The lawsuit alleges the state agency doesn’t actually have the authority to license detention centers as childcare facilities in the first place. Licensed or not, the women-and-children population inside these detention centers won’t be decreasing anytime soon. According to Reuters, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is planning another round of raids targeting undocumented Central American kids and their mothers, similar to the ones they conducted over a two-day stretch across a few states—including Texas—in January.